PCN vaccination sites are ‘not expected’ to be the ‘primary delivery model’ for the spring Covid booster jab programme, NHS England has said.
In a letter to practices and commissioners, it said that commissioners must ensure delivery of the programme – which is due to commence in ‘early April’ – does not impact on ‘core’ NHS services.
Over-75s, care home residents and over-12s who are immunosuppressed will receive an additional Covid booster jab from spring, following an announcement earlier this week.
NHS England’s letter, sent yesterday, said: ‘This offer is expected to begin from early April and systems will need to consider how to deliver without impacting on core NHS services.
‘Unlike in earlier phases, PCN groupings are not expected to be the primary delivery model for this part of the programme.’
NHS England added that it would set out further details ‘shortly’.
The letter also said that commissioners should plan for a potential autumn booster campaign from September, with a ‘minimum scenario to offer vaccination to JCVI cohorts 1-6 and for a maximum scenario to include JCVI cohorts 1-9’.
It comes as NHS England last week said PCNs will also not be expected to lead on the vaccine rollout for five-to-11-year-olds, due to ongoing workforce pressures.
PCN groupings could still be commissioned where there is an ‘assessed need to ensure coverage’ or equity of access, it added.
Those PCN-led sites must consider taking on additional staff to support the cohort while maintaining their core care responsibilities.